U20s 6N: success at last as Scotland topple Wales

15-match losing streak brought to an end with gritty win at Scotstoun

Dan King and Rudi Brown celebrate Scotland's win over Wales. Image: ©Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Dan King and Rudi Brown celebrate Scotland's win over Wales. Image: ©Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Scotland 18

Wales 17

DAVID BARNES @ Scotstoun Stadium

THE long wait is over. Scotland finally broke their 15-match losing streak – an unwanted record stretching back almost three years – by better harnessing the treacherous conditions and playing with a lot more discipline than their Welsh opponents.

“It was a tough night, but great learning for our players and particularly our game managers about how to play this kind of weather,” said victorious head coach Kenny Murray. “It’s not easy playing against the wind, its tough. You’re trying to do things but you can only do so much. I thought we did really well and I’m really, really proud of them.

“It’s a big night for them but also a big night for Scottish rugby. It’s been a tough year, a tough three years, I suppose, for under-20s, so for us it’s a really big step in the right direction.”


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With that wind at their backs in the first half, Scotland first flashed their teeth when Corey Tait made good ground off an overthrown Welsh line-out, but they then suffered an early set-back when losing a distraught Callum Norrie to a shoulder injury after just nine minutes. However, the home side didn’t let that knock them off their stride, and they opened the scoring in the next play by kicking a penalty to the corner, sending Ruairaidh Hart high to gather possession, and then powering the maul over the line for Rudi Brown to finish off.

Wales dominated possession during that first quarter, but Scotland were sharper with ball in hand, and sniping half-backs Richie Simpson and Ben Afshar both managed to pierce the red defensive line.

The hosts also stretched Wales on the left when slick hands transferred possession from another misfired line-out right along the home 22, before Ben Evans‘ smart hack ahead established the field position from which Afshar was able to kick his team three points further ahead a few phases later off a late-tackle penalty.

Wales were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when scrum-half Archie Hughes was yellow-carded for not rolling away after the tackle. It was perhaps a harsh call but whistle-happy Australian referee Reuben Keane had lost patience with the visitors, who he had penalised eight times during the first 35 minutes.

Scotland spent the remainder of the half camped on the Wales line, but Tait being dragged into touch as he tried to escape down the short side of a line-out maul, Sam Derrick losing sight of the ball at the base of a scrum and a dose of white-line-fever across the blue ranks contributed to the hosts failing to make that pressure count on the scoreboard.

Wales were then reduced to 13 men in injury-time of the first half when Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths was carded for taking out Afshar after the ball was away.

“I wasn’t sure at half-time if we’d done enough to win the game,” admitted Murray afterwards. “Not getting that try to take us to 15-0 made me a bit panicky, but we’ve got a screen in the changing room with a ‘storm pattern’ on how we play against the wind, so we looked at that during half-time and I thought we managed the game really well and showed a lot of tenacity.

“We spoke a lot before the game about not letting the guy beside you down because of how hard your working and I thought we did that really well tonight.”

 

Despite being two men down, wind-propelled Wales started the second period in commanding fashion, claiming their first try of the night in the 44th minutes when Morgan Morse picked up from the base of a solid scrum and powered past Scotland’s sleepy defence. It was his third try in his third match at this level against Scotland, and Daniel Edwards stepped up to slot the conversion, making it a one-point game.

To their credit, Scotland rallied immediately, with full-back Dan King breaking through the middle, and man-of-the-match Liam McConnell thought he’d wrestled his way over the line after another powerful burst from Brown, only for the TMO to rule that the ball had been held up.

Scotland doubled-down and eventually got their reward from a penalty try, when Morse was called for lifting an opponent’s leg to disrupt a line-out maul which was powering towards the visiting line. The Welsh flanker was yellow-carded for his troubles, meaning his side were down to 14-men just a few second after returning to full strength.

But the visitors responded positively with Edwards kicking three more points after Kerr Yule strayed offside chasing a sliced clearance, and they then scored the try of the match when great hands from Edwards and Cam Winnett gave Oli Andrew a sniff on the right, and he danced back inside three dark blue jerseys then stretched out of a tackle to score. Edwards drilled home the conversion to put his side ahead for the first time in the match with 55 minutes played.

Momentum appeared to be with Wales and it took good work by  Jonny Rutherford over the tackled man in yo earn a turnover penalty in front of his own posts posts, and Scotland battled up-field to recapture the initiative with hands-in-ruck penalty kicked by King.

Wales threatened again when Lewis Lloyd went close but he needed a double-movement to get over the line meaning the try was rightly chalked off, and Scotland once again worked their way into Wales’ half.

Then a no-arms tackle awarded against Freddie Chapman allowed King to run down the clock as he lined-up a kick at goal, and although his effort came off the post, Scotland stayed focussed to close out the game.

There was a fourth yellow-card against Wales in the final minute when Lloyd was collared for tip-tackling Duncan Munn.

 

Teams –

Scotland: D King; W Robinson, D Munn, K Yule, B Evans (L Jarvie 56); R Simpson, B Afshar; C Davidson (R Deans 47), C Tait (J Blyth-Lafferty 47), C Norrie (M Ogunlaja 9), J Parkinson, R Hart, L McConnell, R Brown, S Derrick (J Rutherford 57).

Wales: C Winnett; L Morgan, L Hennessey, H Ackerman, O Andrew ( T Florence 56); D Edwards, A Hughes (H Williams 70); D Kelleher-Griffiths (F Chapman  74), S Scarfe (L Lloyd 58), E  Fackrell (T  Pritchard 66), L Edwards, R Woodman, M Martin (F Chapman 43-50), M Morse (L  Giannini 66), H Davies (O Evans 38).

 

Scorers –

Scotland: Tries: Brown, Penalty Try; Pen: Afshar, King.

Wales: Tries: Morse, Andrew; Con: Edwards 2; Pen: Edwards.

Scoring sequence (Scotland first): 5-0; 8-0 (h-t) 8-5; 8-7; 15-7; 15-10; 15-15; 15-17; 18-17;

 

Yellow cards –

Wales: Hughes (35mins), Kelleher-Griffiths (40mins), Morse (50mins), Lloyd (79mins)


Scotland v Wales: one change to home side as Gatland revamps pack

About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

19 Comments

  1. Having seen both games, massive congrats to coaching teams and players, the difference from last year to now is massive considering the age of the squad,
    A great step forward and proves that super six can work and I wonder what would happen if people actually stopped knocking things and people and got behind the progress that has been made
    A win is a win and considering the record of late
    WELL DONE ALL

  2. I was beginning to think that bananas grow in Wales, for we have slipped up against them that often in recent years. Frankly they’ve been one huge pain in the Scottish erse and even though we never trailed at any point, I was semi-worried at half time that it might happen again. Full marks to them, for every non-Scot wrote them off completely but they went to it with a will and made life very difficult indeed for much of the first period. To be honest we looked scrappy for 40 minutes, but cometh the break cometh the new tactic and we shifted into a gear that they simply don’t have. Nor indeed do most teams and a warning shot has duly been fired. We are under no illusions however and the real test comes in the next two rounds. Much improvement is needed to take on the world’s ‘top two’, but it is doable. And if there is any consolation to be had it is that we have two weeks to prepare. Hogg will hopefully be back from his concussion protocol (Kinghorn starting if he is not), while Darcey is on the verge of a return. The Mish too is raring to go – and if only Dobie were drafted into the side then Dupont would have a considerably more difficult afternoon than he accustomed to. Finn is of course the best stand-off in Europe- if not the planet – right now and my final word goes to him. His performance today was pure gallus – and what a crafty, cheeky genius that daft laddie is! Time for a wee libation before contemplating the McCrunch.

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  3. So simple, get a pack that can go forward and back themselves. Winning the mental battle against the opponents pack! Do that and the rest is easy ! Well done !

  4. Game should have been in the bag at half time but hats off to the Welsh lads , they managed the game well every time they went a man down and scored 10pm instead with 2 in the bin.

  5. Great to see such a gutsy performance especially in awful conditions. Given the weather I thought the backs were nearly flawless. 4,5,6,7,8 were powerful, aggressive just terrific. The 2 hookers were outstanding The props however are at best was just bang average. Thought the scrum was better when 17 came on l felt sorry for 3 getting injured but over the game and a bit he played his scrummaging is not good enough for that level. 1 and 18 were poor in the scrum offered very little in open play the level of rugby they play week to week being evident, simply not good enough. A bit harsh but true. We’ve got better, pick on merit.

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  6. 20 of the 23 were domestic product it seems. Hats off to those involved in youth development who appear to have finally turned this mess around (probably with efforts dating back 5+ years). Really heartening.

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  7. Awful to see Norrie in distress,. All those years of commitment and training and S&C and then what appeared a bad (recurring?) injury. So sad. Get well soon big man.

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  8. Excellent result. We were unlucky last week and great to see we got it done this week.

    Hopefully sets us up for the challenges ahead in the remaining fixtures.

  9. Ross K. Agree there was little penetration from the backs, but I guess it wasn’t a night for flinging the ball about. Been difficult to form a view on any of the wingers in particular over the two games, as they’ve barely seen the ball. Only Caqasau has been a regular try scorer at club level this season, and he wasn’t involved tonight.

  10. There should be no negativity from any posters tonight. If you weren’t in the game nor there in the conditions keep your comments to yourself.
    To those lads not mentioned in this post above, those of us that were there loved what you did. It’s a team game and a win is a win.

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  11. Great determination in the last 10 minutes and what a maul from our own22 just as wales looked to have the upper hand. Well played gents. Impressed with Rutherford when he came on plus the replacement hooker. But I only saw the second half. Onwards and upwards – hope the injuries are ok.

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    • Only managed to see the first 20 and last 10 or so minutes and some tremendous forward display as Nagasaki mentions and considering the conditions from the little I saw the backs coped as well.
      I hope I am not accused of putting a damper on two good efforts in the opening fixtures but with France in a couple of weeks they best work out how they can deal with he bulk of the French forwards, then deal with Ireland who by all accounts had the edge of their opposition yesterday, I don’t think Italy who have much improved will much easier, I just hope the next couple of very difficult fixtures doesn’t break the lads spirit.

  12. Well done to the boys.

    It was a tough watch and I’m glad that penalty at the end wasn’t needed to win.I thought we should have had the game wrapped up at half time but couldn’t hold on to the ball. Forwards went well but not much penetration in the backs although scrum half looked sharp. A wins a win so great to bring that losing streak to an end.

    Hope the game tomorrow is a bit more comfortable.

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    • Ross K. Going by what I’ve seen in person and read on TOL this season, surprised the names of McLean, Darroch and Davey aren’t featuring amongst the backs. Good strength in depth amongst the backs.

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